James Avery, best known for his role as Phillip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died at age 68, The Hollywood Reporter confirms.
Will Smith, who played Avery's street-smart nephew on the beloved sitcom, reacted to the news Sunday on Facebook.
His co-star, Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery's son Carlton on the show, broke the news by sharing his condolences on Twitter.
I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. pic.twitter.com/UrW0EeBFbO— Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro) January 1, 2014
Ribeiro also posted a heartfelt message on his Facebook page.
In his three-decade acting career, the Atlantic City, New Jersey native took on dozens of TV and film roles and often played judges or authority figures.
His most recent work included a guest role on the drama series Grey's Anatomy and a trio of various TV movies.
As the news broke, Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Fresh Prince star Will Smith, expressed her condolences via Facebook.
According to THR, Avery died yesterday from complications from open-heart surgery.